My Encounter With Troy Aikman…

20 Comments
May 8, 2014
Troy & I

Troy Aikman & Jamal Jivanjee

I recently took a trip to Texas and while out to dinner, I had an encounter with Troy Aikman, the hall of fame & former Superbowl winning quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. I have come to realize that there are no coincidences. There are no accidents. The Lord is always speaking through the day to day events that occur in our lives, and this encounter with Troy Aikman was no exception. Before I get into that story, however, let me share some thoughts about why this encounter almost never happened.

External Motivations

For many of us, the concept of doing what we want seems like a pipe dream at best, and childish, fleshly, and irresponsible at worst.  As a result, most people live lives doing what they don’t want to do thinking that is their lot from the Lord.  As a result, most must find external motivations to keep them doing what they feel they need to do. This is a tragedy.  

Many people receive and submit to the expectations of well meaning peers or leadership figures to keep them in situations they would never choose for themselves.  They convince themselves that they are blind to reality and are not qualified to take a direction or make their own decisions.  So they settle for the expectations of others, or adhere to an external moral code of ethics & responsibility that seems logical and loving on the surface.  The only problem is that they have to shove down and deny the life of their own spirit and conscience in the process.  It’s the opposite of freedom, and it’s also the opposite of the kingdom of God.  Slaves are made in such ways.

Internal Motivations

The kingdom of God is first and foremost internal. By kingdom of God, I mean the person of Jesus Christ who dwells within.  The hope of true glory for us, and the world that will receive this kingdom, is within us (Col. 1:27).  No external force, situation, moral or religious code, or group of people should cause us to violate the personal freedom we have been given.  This freedom is found in the union of our / His spirit that dwells within.  

The battle to be governed by external verses internal motivations is a battle that many of us face daily.  My encounter with Troy Aikman is a perfect example of this struggle.  I’m convinced the Lord was trying to show me something profound through this situation.  Let me explain…

Fear vs Delight

As I mentioned earlier, I recently took a trip to Texas, and I was out to dinner one evening with a couple of my friends.  As we were eating dinner, Troy Aikman walks into the restaurant and sits down just a couple of tables from us.  As a fan of the game of American football, I was very excited that this major American sports icon was literally two or three tables away from us!  I was visibly excited and I called the attention of my friends to notice him.  

I then scanned the restaurant and noticed something quite profound.  I saw two things on the faces of almost all the people in the restaurant.  First, I saw delight.  Troy Aikman is a legend everywhere in America, but especially in Dallas, Texas where he played professional football during his playing career.  Most people there no doubt watched him play on T.V. and some probably went to watch him play in games at their city stadium.  They delighted in him, and I could see it in their eyes as most of the restaurant was looking at him and talking with their own respective tables about him.  Some were pointing and motioning the attention of others to notice him.  

When looking at the people notice him, I could also see something else.  

Fear.  

Although some of the people wanted to meet him and talk to him, no one dared to approach him.  No one talked to him.  I was shocked.  Really?  They just stared at him.  It was as if I could read their minds.  I know this because the very same thing was also happening in me.  Delight and fear.  Thoughts like this were running through my mind:

“Wow, that’s Troy Aikman!  What a legend and a great quarterback”. (delight)

“Man, I’d really love to meet him”. (delight)  

“I’d hate to bother him.  After all, he probably gets bothered continually. (fear)

“Leave the guy alone and let him eat in peace.  It’s not nice to stare”.  (fear)

“What a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and honor someone I admire”. (delight)

“Why are you treating him like some sort of an idol?  Why are you promoting the celebrity culture?  You need to die to this”.   (fear)

“The most loving thing to do would be to leave him alone and let him eat in peace”.  (fear)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.  Interestingly, earlier in the day we had just been talking about the nature of the kingdom of God and how delighting in Him in one another is the key to receiving the very desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).  When we are awake to His indwelling kingdom, we can actually do whatever we want to do!  Yes, that’s right.  Freedom! 

No, I’m not talking about indulging the flesh.  Indulging the flesh actually violates the very thing our spirit craves and desires.  Thankfully, we don’t have to be afraid of indulging our spirit.  That’s where He dwells, and it is there that we receive the greatest desires of our hearts!  

As I sat there wrestling with delight & fear, my friend asked me a very important question.  She asked me this:

“What do you want to do?”  

Bingo.  That clarified everything! I knew what I desired.  I wanted to delight in Troy Aikman.  I wanted to meet him and honor him.  In doing that, I would have to overcome the fear of potential rejection in the case he didn’t want to be approached.  I was determined that delight was going to win the battle over fear, however.  

Even if it made Troy uncomfortable, I was going to delight in him anyway.  

Even if it interrupted his dinner, I was going to delight in him anyway.  

Even if the whole restaurant thought I was being rude by approaching him, I was going to delight in him anyway.  

This is what I wanted to do.  This is what I was going to do.  I could hear the Lord’s pleasure in my choosing to delight in another despite the potential risks of misunderstanding or rejection.  It was the most loving thing to do.  As a result, I approached him.  I could quickly tell that he was delighted in my delight of him.  We had a brief and pleasant exchange.  I said some honoring things that came to mind and we took a photo together.  As I walked away from that dinner, I knew this was a message from the Lord.  He was speaking through this incident. 

Brothers and sisters, we have been given eyes to truly see one another.  Deeply. When you see one of your brothers or sisters with His eyes, you will delight in what you see.  When this occurs, you will have a choice to express your delight in them, and you will also have a choice to give in to human wisdom & fear by keeping your delight at a distant arms length.  May we always choose delight. Even if it is misunderstood.  It’s the most loving thing to do.  After all, we were made to be lovers and the kingdom of God comes in riding on the back of love.

Love!

Jamal Jivanjee                           

Jamal Jivanjee

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20 responses to My Encounter With Troy Aikman…

  1. “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
    Ps 37:4

    You wear this so well, enjoy and rejoice in His freedom!

  2. First of all, I love this story and that you got to meet and delight in Troy! Next, I wanted to explicitly call out a point that I believe you implied in your excellent article:

    People often disguise (i.e. “call”) their fear as something positive.

    In this case, your internal battle (and that battle being waged by all the others who wanted to meet and delight in Troy) was exchanging the name of “fear” for “politeness.” There are so many exchanges people make like this. People call fear:

    “Wisdom; Security; Responsibility; Best; Closed doors;” or, worst of all, “God’s will.”

    Like you did here, Jamal, may we call out fear for what it is and let perfect Love cast out all of it.

    Thank you, brother!

  3. I was just thinking today how funny my line of thinking might have been, if I had time to develop it out first.

    “Look, Troy Aikman just walked in. He’s a big deal. You should admire him.”

    …..But I don’t follow football. He’s just an ordinary guy to me.

    “You really should go ask for his autograph.”

    ….But I don’t collect autographs.

    “You could sell it. Or trade it to Jamal.”

    ….Uhhh, okay, you might have a good reason there!

    (Sorry, just having fun. You know I love this post:). In fact, the reminder came in handy for me today on a personal level. Great timing. Thank you!)

    • Jamal Jivanjee May 8, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      Thanks Pamela, I can’t wait to hear how this came in handy for you today on a personal level:)

      Also, thanks for asking me that question!

  4. Hi Jamal,

    A friend commented on my Facebook status and told me about your article. The following is what I posted earlier today:

    “He (Jesus) didn’t come to start a new religion. Jesus is not the ‘founder of Christianity.’ He came to destroy religious thinking by introducing relationship – and relationship always moves you away from control . . . and into the mystery of relationship.” ~ William Paul Young

    “Christ is in us. Christ is our Life. Through Christ in us we are a part of one another. Not only are we one with Him but one with one another. It is this divine oneness that the flesh so opposes. The flesh unknowingly or deceptively seeks to stage it or seeks to control it by doing things in a way that keeps us just enough separated, not truly knowing one another in the intimacy that is only Christ in us. We know about the barriers, we know because we have built them. We often merely choose to not see them and go on about the not-too-close kind of way. It is to acknowledge the desire of Christ who is in us that brings us past our own fears of Spirit Life intimacy. We are one.”

  5. kenneth dawson May 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    yea this is good timing–my daughter in florida had a motorcycle accident this past Tuesday and is in the hospital–I have been debating about driving down there from up here in Tulsa,ok but man that’s a long trip–anyway she is very bitter against me over a divorce from her mom nine years ago and now she says that I show I don’t love her because im debating about the trip–but there are circumstsnces for consideration–anyway your article gives me encouragement in my agony as to what to do–thanks

  6. Hi Jamal,

    Since you have encouraged and reminded us here in this post, to let that Love that dwells inside of us, express itself one to the other with great delight, then I’m going to do just that, now. I love you, brother. You are a blessing to me!!

    Hope to see you in a couple of months, The Lord willing :)

    • Jamal Jivanjee May 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks so much for your encouragment Marsela. I love you too:) Let me know when you come to town. I won’t be at the conference, but would love to see you if you’re here and your schedule will allow.

  7. Shelby Shock-Marsh May 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    This article rocks! Casting our cares (fears) so that we may give a clear path to Love. Fear really has so many different shades.

    There are weeds that mimmick other plants. Their roots are much bigger & they are invasive & they hog-up the water supply & dont ‘play well’ with the other plants and can choke the productive ones out & can take over a garden in no time. This weed reminds me of fear. This weed reminds me of what happened in that restaurant…until Love stood firm. Thanks once again Jamal. My perception just took another good turn. PS i love you!

  8. I admit, I keep checking the comments to see if Troy has commented ;) Thankyou for sharing this experience from your vantage point! From my point of view, I delighted in seeing you delight!

    • Jamal Jivanjee May 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Nischelle,

      Thank you for all your encouragment, and for snapping this picture!! So glad you delighted in my delight:)

  9. I’ll let you know for sure if I come. I can find some time to meet with you :)

  10. So relatable. Thanks Jamal.

  11. Good one, Jamal.
    I was just thinking of how I was feeling jealous of your encounter because I really want to meet him too but I would be in fear to do so if I ever did see him (which is possible seeing as how I’m currently living in Dallas).
    It’s like when others see our fearlessness in encountering Jesus, they are filled with a healthy jealously–to do all they can to have that same encounter!

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